One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A marshbird of the rail family, with mainly black, purplish-blue, or dark green plumage and a red bill.
Genera Porphyrio and Porphyrula (or Gallinula), family Rallidae: several species
- ‘In a familiar oxbow lake, there were gallinules and egrets, even a couple of brightly colored wood ducks and five blue-winged teal.’
- ‘Since 1975, I have found common gallinule during the nesting season near Lake Elmo, Washington County.’
- ‘This close relative of the gallinules and moorhens lives on open water and is sometimes mistaken for a duck.’
- ‘Gender-biased incubation patterns in the rails and gallinules are poorly known, but male nocturnal incubation has been documented in several species, including at least one that is not considered a joint layer.’
- ‘It's a takahe, an extraordinary, huge flightless gallinule long believed to be extinct until rediscovered in a remote mountain range 50 years ago.’
Late 18th century: from modern Latin Gallinula (genus term), diminutive of Latin gallina ‘hen’, from gallus ‘cock’.
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